I’ve been “Eve-curious” for a long time. An avid – albeit casual – gamer, I’ve dipped into maybe half a dozen different MMOs over the past several years. I’ve tried a few B2P and F2P offerings, but have never found one that felt like “home” enough to justify a subscription. When Eve’s Alpha option first opened up I was intrigued, but only recently decided to take the plunge.
After signing up for an Alpha account, I spent a week or so bumming around hi-sec working through tutorial missions, completing the “Blood-Stained Stars” epic arc, and making myself a nuisance to the Serpentis pirate faction. I dipped my toes into low-sec and promptly had my shiny new Vexor melted out from under me by a passer-by who took the opportunity for an easy killmail while I was getting tunnel vision trying to burn down a Serpentis battleship and neglecting Local. After that, I stuck to cheap destroyers for ratting around belts and the occasional hi-sec anomaly, but I was quickly coming to the conclusion that a safe life under CONCORD’s watchful eye was not for me.
I’ve typically played MMOs solo, but I knew better than to try living the null-sec life on my own as a brand new capsuleer. So I did some homework on new player-friendly corps, landed on KarmaFleet, and eagerly awaited a response to my application. After the requisite couple of days, I received my acceptance letter.
I’d read enough on the forums to know that joining an Imperium-aligned corp right there in high-traffic Gallente space would paint a huge target on my back. KF’s typical advice for newbees is to deathclone to Imperium space in Delve, but instead I decided to see if I could make it there on my own two wings. I grabbed what I could from the various places I’d stashed my loot around hi-sec, navigated my Algos down to Sakht, holed up in-station, and gingerly clicked “Accept.”
After going through the requisite steps to gain access to fleet and coalition resources, I entered null-sec for the first time, intent on making the trip from Sakht down to the heart of Imperium territory in Delve. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know whether my little Algos could survive the trip, but I had to try it at least once, just to see if I could.
I watched Local like a hawk the entire trip, saw a few reds from a distance, and once took a few shots from a hostile cruiser on a gate. I bravely turned tail and fled, made it through the gate, and warped off to the first inanimate object I could click on before my pursuer could follow.
It’s not an especially efficient way to get to Imperium space, but as I discovered, it is possible – even for someone who had only been a resident of New Eden for a week.
In the month or so since taking up residence in Delve, I’ve dipped my toes in quite a bit deeper. I’ve gone out on several missions now, like the ones I wrote about in First Patrol and First Blood, though I still have yet to get into one of the big battles. I’ve died in fleets, died in one-on-one PVP engagements, died warping into anomalies that were too much for my meager skills, died in . . . well, you get the picture. I’ve died a lot. I shed my alpha-clone status and plexed just in time for the 15th anniversary goodie box, and used my new Omega status to try my hand at Planetary Interaction, which at my underdeveloped skill level on a single character is currently pulling in about 5-10 million ISK per day. I worked my way up from my Algos, to a Vexor, and now spend my “ratting time” bouncing around Forsaken Dens and sundry asteroid belts in a Myrmidon on my way further up the skill tree. (I’ve got my eye on piloting a Thanatos someday, and perhaps even a Nyx, but that day is still a long way off). I’ve used MTUs and a dedicated salvage destroyer to flip any number of ship carcasses into usable loot, and even happened upon one T2 module recently that sold on the market in 1DQ for more ISK than all the ship hulls I’ve bought in my entire Eve career to date, combined.
I join fleets when I can, and I’ve whored my way onto a couple of killmails, but while I’ve ended plenty of Blood Pirate careers out there alone in space, I’m still waiting for that first solo PvP kill. My editor here at INN told me I need to “get out of 1DQ more,” and some evenings I just get the urge to roam around and get myself blown up. I don’t have the skills for T2 ships yet, but I’ve been exploded in a wide variety of Gallente and Caldari T1 frigates and destroyers, and even a cruiser or two.
One night recently, after running through my click-list of “PI chores,” I got the urge to roam again. I bought a new Caracal and fitted it out for heavy tackle as best I could without access to some of the appropriate T2 mods. I mapped out a route consisting of a variety of null, low, and hi-sec spaces. I insured my ship, fully expecting to collect on it by the end of the evening, and I set off.
Yet somehow, my Caracal and I survived the night.
I followed some alerts on the local Delve and Querious intel channels, practiced my directional-scanning skills (which are sorely lacking), and tried to hunt down some of the reds and neutrals lurking around friendly space. As I got further out, the ratio of reds to blues got larger, and I grew proportionally more cautious.
There were a couple of exciting moments. In one instance, a friendly destroyer and I chased an enemy Stabber around the system, but never could quite lock him up enough for a real fight. They say “Goons can’t tackle.” One day, perhaps, I’ll prove them wrong. But it was not this day.
In another case I warped through a gate right into a small gang of reds. Fortunately they didn’t have a bubble on the gate, so I held cloak, found a celestial that I could align to in a hurry, and warped off to it (and subsequently bounced around to a few others in-system to avoid being followed).
And more than an hour after setting out from 1DQ, I completed my giant circle through my corner of known space without much in the way of any truly harrowing incident. My Caracal and I had survived.
With most of my time spent in Delve, Querious, and the nearby pirate-owned space, I wasn’t quite brave enough to venture too far from home this time. But it was further than I’ve been on my own, ever since moving out to null-sec. With the exception of fleet ops, I’ve spent most of my time within a few systems of home, but I don’t intend to be a carebear forever. I don’t have the ISK-faucet turned up high enough yet to spend all my time exploring, but between fleets, ratting, PI, and other activities to keep the lights on, it’s these sorts of expeditions that make Eve for me. I suspect that no matter how long I play this game, part of it for me will always be looking forward to the next time I can set off for an evening flight to forge my own adventure, without knowing where the skies will take me; whether they’ll find me as the hunter or the hunted; and whether they’ll bring me home in my ship, in my capsule, or not at all.
If you’re someone who enjoys life in the security of CONCORD-controlled hi-sec, that’s great. That wasn’t the life for me, but the beauty of New Eden is that it is whatever you want it to be. But if it’s nervousness about navigating null-sec that has you hiding out under CONCORD’s watchful eye, don’t! Here in Imperium null-sec, I’m slowly learning the ropes, and taking advantage of the many resources on offer to newbees, like the free frigates program and the free skillbook program. The learning curve is steep, but KarmaFleet (and Goonswarm Federation as a whole) are set up quite well to help with that. And of course, one does die a lot. But in a world that lets us be immortal Internet space pilots, that’s just one more part of the adventure. Karmafleet likes to invite new players to “Come be a part of something big.” As someone who works in communications for a living when I’m not flying Internet spaceships, I understand that’s a marketing slogan. But I also understand that the best marketing slogans work because they’re built around a core element of truth. That slogan is not why I settled on KF as my new-player null-sec corp. But the truth behind it is a big part of why I’m planning to stay on for the foreseeable future.